A country estate, over 200 acres of woodlands and sweeping lake views from Half Mile Hill.
LAKE LOOP Starting at the trail kiosk on Osgood St, follow the Osgood Hill trail. Watch for small blue signs labeling tree species. Once you’ve reached the Stevens Estate, continue down to the lake on the Osgood Hill Trail. Return on the Stevens Trail, or backtrack to the Stevens Estate for the next loop.
HALF MILE HILL LOOP The large open field on the southeastern face of Osgood Hill is known as Half Mile Hill. The Summit Trail, beginning near the Stevens Estate, allows for a quick ascent to the top for a sweeping view of Lake Cochichewick. From the sitting area, continue along the field’s edge to where the Half Mile Hill Trail re-enters the woods. This wide, easy trail will return you to the Stevens Estate.
BEGINNING AT HALF MILE HILL To park at the bottom of Half Mile Hill, enter the Edgewood Retirement Community on Osgood St. Take the third left, and follow signs for Half Mile Hill. Park by the trail kiosk.
Moses T. Stevens, heir to the Stevens Mill, began purchasing land along Lake Cochichewick in the 1850s, building the Stevens mansion atop Osgood Hill in 1885 to serve as the home for himself and his wife. Stevens continued to enlarge the estate, and by the turn of the century, the family owned most all of the land on the western side of the lake, including Weir Hill, Osgood Hill and the Edgewood farm nestled in between.
After the death of Moses’ son Nathaniel, the 165-acre Osgood Hill property and mansion were donated to Boston University and used as a conference center. In 1994, under threat of development, the citizens of North Andover purchased the hill at a special town meeting for protection of Lake Cochichewick, the town’s water supply. The Stevens Estate buildings are now operated by the Stevens Estate Board of Trustees and used for conferences and functions.
More recently, Half Mile Hill, the summit, and several other adjoining parcels were purchased by the town using Community Preservation Act funds with assistance from the Trust for Public Land. These acquisitions bring the total conserved area to 237 acres of woodlands and open elds.
The Community Preservation Act allows communities such as North Andover to create a fund for open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing and outdoor recreation. In addition to funding the acquisition of much of the open space here on Osgood Hill, the funds have been used to perform much needed repairs and historical restoration of the Stevens mansion.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Osgood Hill is thick with oak, maple, hickory, ash, hornbeam, beech, and white birch. While no historical records of forest cover remain for North Andover, it is likely that some of the slopes of Osgood Hill have been wooded for more than a century. Especially large specimens of beech and red oak can be found along the Lake Trail. An interpretive sign shows the location of ten “legacy trees” identified by a forester and marked with numbered tags.
Like many of North Andover’s natural areas, Osgood Hill is also host to invasive plant species. Oriental bittersweet is a fast-growing vine that climbs trees along the edge of clearings, and can kill even the largest trees with its heavy foliage. The vine is most evident along Osgood Street and the Stevens Estate driveway.
Japanese knotweed can also be found around the carriage house. This invasive spreads rapidly and is extremely difficult to eliminate.